Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Plans must be made for funding
It is of great disappointment to many local communities when a much-valued local facility closes up and is sold off because it is surplus to the requirements of the owner or is deemed to not be a commercially-viable proposition.
Residents in many areas have watched with dismay as shops, pubs and even patches of land have been sold off and used for non-community purposes, such as house-building.
But new powers due to be introduced later this year could give residents more of a say in what happens in their own communities, and give them the chance to bid to buy buildings that are at risk of being sold off.
This is obviously a great boon to communities where, for example, swimming pools have been closed down for not being profitable despite much public opposition, or breweries have boarded up pubs because they don’t make enough money from them.
In theory, whole villages could get together and be considered for purchasing such facilities with a view to running them themselves for the good of their local community.
Of course, the Community Right to Bid section of the Localism Act only opens the door to such suggestions. A community or estate might want to keep a building in public use, but they will still need to have the financial clout to buy it and run it.
The act would give much more power to communities if it also made provision for some kind of funding, whether through grants or low-interest loans, to allow all villages and parishes – not just those comprised of wealthy households – to take advantage of what could be a powerful weapon in the fight to maintain and strengthen our local communities.